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Jim Boeheim and Brent Axe Discuss Syracuse, Team USA and the NBA Draft

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Boeheim hopped onto Brent Axe's radio show "On the Block" yesterday afternoon to talk about the backcourt prospects for next year, the NBA Draft, and the Zika virus threatening athletes to reconsider taking the trip to Rio.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange head basketball coach Jim Boeheim was Brent Axe's guest on his radio show "On the Block" yesterday to talk about everything related to basketball these days, from next year's team to the Olympics. The full interview can be heard here, but if you choose to not listen, a few of the highlights are below, courtesy of Syracuse.com's Chris Carleson.

On next year's backcourt:

Boeheim said that the guys will be more athletic than in years' past. They might not be the best shooters on the court, but they are better able to run up and down the court without getting worn out so quickly.

"Johnny (Gillon) can shoot it. I think Frank (Howard) is getting better shooting the ball. I think Tyus (Battle) is getting better. I think there's no question athletically we hope to get up and down the court a little better. With a shot-blocker in the middle we think we could pressure a little more and get some fast-break baskets. Our forwards can run. Both Tylers (Roberson and Lydon) and Matt Moyer they can run. I'd hope that would give us the opportunity to run a little more."

On Malachi Richardson being selected by the Sacramento Kings at No. 22 in the NBA Draft:

Boeheim focused on the fact that Richardson has now been given an opportunity to prove that he's ready for the big leagues and that that's a key to becoming a successful player.

"It's tough to get drafted in the first round of the NBA now. It's not that easy. He's got that type of potential. Someone saw that. Now he's got to get himself prepared, have a good summer, get in camp in the fall and get going. You have a short window in the NBA. You've got a couple years to show them what you've got. I'm glad he's got that opportunity."

On the NBA Draft's focus on potential:

The coach talked about how it's rare to see a player drafted in the later rounds who ends up becoming a standout. The guys picked in the first round are usually the most successful with at least getting to see the court, even if it's off the bench (see: Dion Waiters).

"What they look for is a guy that can be a great player. Nine of the 10 guys taken in the first round, who they think will be, are not. They just look for that, they hope for that. At the end of the day if you're a good player and you can help a team it doesn't matter if you're 24 years old (like Mike Gbinije). You've got 10 years to play. That's just talk. The underlying thing is they're looking for guys they think can be a great player someday. Reality is if you're not drafted in the first four or five picks, you're not going to be a great player. It can happen. It happened with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. More often than not those guys don't turn into great players."

On the Zika virus scare related to the Olympics in Rio:

Boeheim reminded us that it's winter in Brazil right now, so the chances of contracting the Zika virus right now is slim.

"How many mosquitoes do you see in Syracuse in the winter? Not a lot of them. It'll obviously be a little warmer there but there's really, they've done some studies, they feel there's no threat from the Zika virus. I think security will be good. They talked about it in China, they talked about it in London and it was unbelievable. There were no security problems in either place. I think everything will be taken care of and under control."

On LeBron James' Finals performance:

Jimmy B made sure to point out that LeBron played phenomenally but that there have been several other players who have taken over their respective championship series.

"He was phenomenal. We sometimes forget, especially you young guys, you forget Jerry West getting 50 and 48, Oscar Robertson getting 50 and Michael Jordan single-handedly winning a couple playoffs averaging well-over 30 points per game. I think sometimes we've got short memories. Bill Russell blocking 24 shots in a game, 26 rebounds, we get caught up in today and we forget about what those guys did back then. Huge, unbelievable numbers that were put up by great players. LeBron stepped up and had a great final and certainly deserved to win the whole thing."